Tuesday, 17 June 2008
Wednesday, 11 June 2008
Monday, 9 June 2008
Sunday, 1 June 2008
In the last few days, I checked out her page, and was surprised to discover that she had done some audio files of songs she had composed. They may be home-made recordings, but the bare pit atmosphere they generate gives them a certain freshness. I was impressed enough to download them. Budding musicians, actors, actresses and writers now have a suitable platform to start from. Whoever created MySpace has certainly built a new highway for talented performers in the showbiz world to reach stardom.
Seen The Future And It Works - Moffat Takes Charge
Getting down to brass tacks, the news that Steven Moffat is stepping into Russell T. Davies’ shoes is a further assurance that the future of ‘Doctor Who’ is no longer in jeopardy. Under his guidance, I believe that the show will continue on, probably until The Doctor reaches the end of his thirteenth incarnation. Even then, the possibility that it could continue after that could become a reality if Moffat is still in charge by then. If not, I feel that he has the judgement to instil in his eventual successor a passion to keep the show going for as long as it can.
However, the future is an unknown creature; we have yet to see whether his personal vision makes or breaks the longevity of the show. I lean towards the former being the likeliest of scenarios.
In terms of the programme as a whole, Moffat has proved to be the strongest of the current crop of ‘Doctor Who’ writers. In the twenty-seventh season, he delivered the chilling, multi-layered two-part story ‘The Empty Child’, turning a simple question into a frightening one. Such was the popularity of the tale that he wrote two more stories: the tragically romantic scare fest ‘The Girl In The Fireplace’ and ‘Blink’, the Doctor-lite story, which won a Nebula Award and featured what many Whovians consider to be the scariest monsters in the programme’s forty-five year history, the Weeping Angels. Yesterday, he moved the fear factor up a notch or three with the first instalment of his latest two-parter ‘Silence In The Library’. Using great skill, he has woven an intricate, three-pronged storyline that only the second part can make the various threads more coherent, so you get a greater sense of what just is going on. Moffat taking over will provide Whovians with the welcome certainty that he will raise the bar in terms of storytelling and that he’ll employ writers ‘who’ will help him to realise this goal.
Greenlighted – Movies & TV Shows In Production
Against The Current – Michelle Trachtenberg, Joseph Fiennes, Justin Kirk.
Farlanders – Jeff Daniels, Melanie Lynskey, Maggie Gyllenhaal.
He’s Just Not That Into You – Ben Affleck, Scarlett Johansson, Ginnifer Goodwin.
A Christmas Carol – Jim Carrey, Christopher Lloyd, Fay Masterson.
Trinity – no cast announced.
Life Bites – no cast announced.
The Suspicions Of Mr Whicher – no cast announced.
Being Human – Andrea Riseborough, Russell Tovey, Guy Flanagan.
The Last Word Monologues – no cast announced.
Dani’s House – Dani Harmer, Zoe Salmon, Harry Culverhouse.
The Gossip Pot
Usually it is Lindsay Lohan who makes headlines that cause Dina, her mum, to become annoyed and embarrassed. This time, the reverse has happened. An episode of Dina Lohan’s TV reality show has sparked the anger of viewers after it appeared to show her allowing her other daughter, fourteen year-old Ali, to be in the room whilst a sex tape was being played on the video recorder . . . Andrew has his Nancy; twenty-eight year-old cabaret singer from Blackpool is to take this coveted part. However, I did wonder whether Samantha should’ve gotten the role, but the public has spoken …Guesswork is still proving to be the order of the day as Angelina Jolie’s representatives are neither confirming nor denying whether she has given birth to twins. Fear not, if someone spots her with a double buggy, then we’ll know for sure.
MORE NEXT WEEK
Sunday, 25 May 2008
Ben Whishaw - Although I have yet to see this young man in action on screen, the buzz is that he will be a major leading man quite soon. Helping him to this status is the 2008 film adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's most famous novel "Brideshead Revisited". The other prominent role in his career so far was as the killer with an amazing sense of smell in the British-German co-production "Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer. However, his latest role will be a completely British one, as he is playing Sebastian, who has a torturous relationship with Charles Ryder, one that lies somewhere inbetween friendship and love, at a time when homosexuality was the type of thing that you had to keep buried and never speak of. If the critics are kind to this adaptation of the book, Whishaw could certainly look forward to more career-building parts in the not too distant future.
Holly Grainger - Her body of work, extensive though it is, has mainly been in TV, but the movie version of Kevin Holden's novel about teenage life and football hooliganism looks set to move Holly into cinema, an area of visual entertainment she had previously not entered. One of a long list of former child performers, the Lancashire-born daughter of celebrated character actor Gawn Grainger, has successfully navigated her way through adolescence with a string of roles that show her the good and bad aspects of growing up into a young woman. It is yet to be established whether the first film she has been cast in will be her only film. Still, the optimist within me would love to see Miss Grainger make more movies in the future.
Linzey Cocker - Like Holly, Linzey hails from Lancashire, but the difference is that Miss Cocker has two films in the pipeline, not one. The one that has the highest profile of the two is 'Wild Child', which will see her screen time with Julia Roberts niece, Emma, one of the current crop of new A-List teen movie stars in Hollywood. Television viewers are bound to know her, though, as Jade, the jealous twin sister of Ashley, the geeky girl who became a fashion princess. The leap into film came as something of a surprise. As brilliant as her performance was, I did feel that she was going to do some more TV parts, before auditioning for movie roles, something that very few British actresses of her age group succeed at. Nor did I think for a second she'd be one of the female leads in an American teen comedy, but the corners you do walk round can still hold surprises for you.
Ellen Page - After starting her career as a little-known Canadian actress and passing through walls in the first couple of 'X-Men' movies, Ellen flexed her film acting muscles, when she turned the tables on a pervert in 'Hard Candy', in a way that will make any man wince. This grisly tale led to her securing the lead in 'Juno', a film about teenage pregnancy, which in turn led her to receive an Academy Award nomination the Best Actress category, a welcome, or unwelcome, development for any actress, depending on how much ground they have already gained. Not all lesser known female actors can get something from such an acolade. Fortunately, she has been lucky enough to have three new movie projects come her way, and I feel doubly sure that there will be plenty more where they came from.
Talulah Riley - Thank god for Nylon Magazine! For a while, it was looking like Talulah wasn't going to get mentioned in these articles that spotlight new and talented British actresses. It is strange, therefore, that an American magazine, rather than a UK one, had done just that. The adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel "Five Little Pigs" had provided her with her first professional acting role. Appearing as a teenage Angela Warren in various flashback scenes gave Talulah her first taste of work as an up-and-coming actress. Although things were quiet for her for a few months afterwards, she soon got a steady stream of work, beginning with "Pride & Prejudice" in 2005, and culminating with the deliciously dark-humoured revamping of the "St Trinians" movie franchise. 2008 looks set to be the year that Miss Riley is lifted out of the supporting character category and into the potential leading lady one.
Amy MacDonald - She may have been launched as a hot new singer-songwriter in the music scene last year, but, as far as I'm concerned, the Scottish songstress is not quite at the stage where she is definitely a household name. The singles "This Is The Life" and "Poison Prince" are prime examples of just how capable a composer she is, but still there isn't a great deal to suggesr she is as big a star as I'd like her to be. This was signified by the fact I was able to buy a copy of her debut CD with the minimum of expense. Such talent shouldn't be cheapened in this way, and I am crossing my fingers that I'll be able to buy her follow up album for about sixteeen quid.
Cat Tale - Elisha Cuthbert, Jerry O'Connell, Sean Astin
Four Christmases - Reese Witherspoon, Vince Vaughn, Carol Kane
Nine - Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench, Daniel Day Lewis
Shutter Island - Leonardo Di Caprio, Emily Mortimer, Ben Kingsley
Beautiful People - no cast announced
Blake's Seven(new version) - no cast announced
Hotel Babylon: Series Four - Dexter Fletcher, Alexandra Moen, Emma Pierson
Unforgiven - no cast announced
Sunday, 18 May 2008
Three years after the Pevensie brood tumbled their way out of Narnia, they return in 'Prince Caspian', the second of the movie instalment of C.S. Lewis's series of fantasy novels. This time, they are helping the character that makes up the title of the film to reclaim the throne from his evil uncle, King Miraz. Although early reports show it having the same elements as before, both in terms of story and character, one change has been made; that of romantic feelings brewing between Caspian and Susan.
Adamson has obviously cottoned onto the fact that Miss Popplewell is growing into a young womam, and needs something to make what could well be the last time she appears in these series of movies that bit more special. If this is the case, it is a pity, as she is one of the stronger of the cast members; the strongest being Georgie Henley, even though she is still thirteen. I do hope, though, that if 'The Last Battle' is made, Anna's character will return to Narnia to marry Prince Caspian. It would be a wonderfully emotional moment, plus he will be the King of Narnia by then....
There is no way that I can talk about summer movies without mentioning that after nearly twenty years, Indy is well and truly back. Harrison Ford, in spite of his age, is returning to wear his trusty brown leather jacket and to crack his whip.
Ford's return was an inevitable consequence of there being a new Indiana Jones movie. The character's creator, George Lucas, can't really inject humour into his scripts - dark, dry, wacky or otherwise - so Harrison kind of has to do that for him. The first 'Star Wars' trilogy, as many critics have probably pointed out, sustained longevity because of the delicious sense of humour Ford brought to them, as he did with the three Indy movies prior to this one. This explains why he is back in the role that ensured he would get leading roles from that moment on. Also returning is Karen Allen (Marion Ravenwood), my favourite of all the Indy chicks.
I have an un-written rule, namely that I only favour blockbusters that have an excpetional element to them that makes them satisfy the critics. Aside from the heroes are the villains, and the chief one chronicles an odd bit of casting, Cate Blanchett. However, I feel she is versatile enough not to disappoint Indy fans around the world, the eyes of which will be watching her.
Let me start by saying that I quite liked the previous movie about Dr. Banner and his giant, green-skinned, immensely strong alter-ego, probably one of the minority who did, though I did feel a small sense of bewilderment about Ang Lee helming that project. He is a director that you wouldn't equate with the superhero movie genre. Still, he did the best that job he could, and it was a shame that the majority of cinemagoers didn't see it that way.
The title of the second movie is bound to draw comparisons with the Seventies TV show . That immortal line, "Mr Magee, don't make me angry. You won't like me when I'm angry" will doubtlessly engraved on the minds of those old enough to remember the programme, who are going to see this film. That phrase has elevated itself to become one of the most famous of the past thirty years, but at the same time, it represents a universal truth, as does the character of the Hulk; that there is a giant monster within us all, that only comes out, whenever anger turns into fury. The principle character, Bruce Banner, like Bill Bixby did, or at least tried to, in the TV show, to rid himself of the creature within him, and goes off on a journey to do just that. He could just try anger management, but who'd go to a multiplex, just to see him do that.
Musicals that simply use songs by a particular artist or group don't turn me on. However, Abba are one of the two exceptions. The reason for this is that the group's songs lend themselves very well to musical theatre. Indeed, Bjorn and Benny teamed up with lyricist Tim Rice, to write 'Chess', which led to the Swedish songwriting team composing a tenth UK chart-topper, 'I Know Him So Well'.
Again, I am faced with a surprising casting choice for a movie musical, Meryl Streep. I think, unless I'm very much mistaken, this is the first time she has done a film of this sort. The plot itself is a solid enough one, but I suspect that people will see it for the Abba songs. And why not!
The group's music is fabulous, plus the show is the most popular of these 'jukebox musicals'. I do hope that it doesn't lead to any others being made; I don't want to see a movie version of 'We Will Rock You', as much as I love Queen. The only other exception to my rule is a musical containing the songs of The Beach Boys - that I'd definitely go and see.
SEE YOU NEXT WEEK
Wednesday, 30 April 2008
Sunday, 6 April 2008
Sunday, 30 March 2008
The other way that classic TV and cinema is being celebrated is by the re-vamping of old favourites. In the twenty-first century, three prime examples of this have emerged: ‘Battlestar Galactica’, ‘Flash Gordon’, and ‘The Bionic Woman’. The re-invention of these old shows challenge critics’ pre-conceptions of the validity of re-launching them, by telling these tales in a brand new way. At the head of the shows is ‘Doctor Who’, which came back to our TV screens in 2005. The familiar elements are still there, but Russell T. Davies, the man responsible for its return, has added new plot threads to it; the most important being that the planet of Gallifrey is no more. The changes have indeed made a huge difference to the show, as it is always high enough in the ratings for its future to be secure. Unfortunately, the same doesn’t appear to be true for ‘The Bionic Woman’. In spite of the best efforts of Michelle Ryan and her co-stars, as well as the creative team behind it, it doesn’t look like a second series will happen.
This, I have to say, is something of a shame. I’ve seen the opening episode, and the style and tone of it shows a good deal of promise, enough to warrant some dismay from myself that a second series hasn’t been approved. Then again, that’s the nature of US television.
Back here in the UK, ‘Doctor Who’ has not been the only example of the revival of home-grown science fiction. ‘The Quatermass Experiment’ was re-done, but as a live broadcast, just like the original, as was ‘A For Andromeda’, although that was pre-recorded effort. Neither of them, however, were as successful as the new set of adventures for the Time Lord.
The only loser in this resurgence of audience interest in sci-fi and fantasy is the adaptation of science fiction novels. The last endeavour to bring a tale in this literary genre to the small screen was ‘The Tripods’, based on the trilogy by John Christopher. Regrettably, only two-thirds of the entire series of novels was made. A decade before, Peter Dickinson’s three books, collectively called ‘The Changes’, were brought to TV, but the trilogy was condensed, and the third novel was largely absent from the adaptation as a whole. In spite of this, ‘The Changes’ is some-thing that I would really love to see re-made, but as a trilogy in the proper sense of the word, either on TV or as three movies. I feel there is an untapped well of material in these old programmes. In this area of drama, the past does fashion the future.
Frankie Machine – Robert De Niro
Mary, Queen Of Scots – Scarlett Johansson
Ye Olde Times – Lindsay Lohan, Cary Elwes
Bob Funk – Rachael Leigh Cook, Lucy Davis, Stephen Root
Spring Breakdown – Amber Tamblyn, Will Arnett, Mae Whitman
My Spy Family – Alice O’Connor, Milo Towney
Skellig – No cast listings at present
Tess Of The D’Urbivilles – Gemma Arterton, Ruth Jones, Hans Matheson
The Rolling Stones were banned from Blackpool, Mick and the boys have been allowed to return to the seaside resort, but it’s not yet clear whether they will or not…After twenty-one years, a British female singer has topped the US chart. Leona Lewis, ‘X-Factor’ winner, has scored her first American number one. The last woman to do that was Kim Wilde with a cover version of
The Supremes hit, ‘You Keep Me Hanging On’……..
MORE NEXT WEEK
Tuesday, 25 March 2008
Collecting nine Oscars at the 1997 Academy Awards, the cinematic tale of a disfigured man who falls in love placed Minghella firmly on the international movie scene. In spite of his acknowledgement as a top-quality director and screenwriter, he only made three other feature films between 1999 and 2006; 'The Talented Mr Ripley', 'Cold Mountain' and 'Breaking & Entering'. Well on its way to becoming a classic of modern cinema, 'The English Patient' seems to be the high-point of his overall career, which began when he was the script editor of 'Grange Hill'. Acclaimed as he was, he never really fitted the mould of the current crop of Hollywood directors. Some may that's a good thing, others might see it differently. As for me, I viewed him as being a film-maker that made the best use of the Hollywood system, embracing the quality-driven aspects of Tinseltown. His adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith novel was a Hollywood production, but he steered it away from being part of the 'conveyor-belt' mentality that some movie producers find hard to let go of. His directorial style seemed to get the best performances of the actors in his movies, regardless of whether they were A-List stars or not. He didn't seem to be a director that let celebrity status determine who was right for a particular role, and who wasn't.
Now he has passed away, we can only speculate on whether he had it in him to make another modern movie classic. Had he lived, I feel sure tha his talent would have enabled him to write and direct something that could be every bit as good as his 1996 romantic epic.
I'LL BE BACK THIS SUNDAY....
Saturday, 22 March 2008
Tuesday, 18 March 2008
The article on the return of cult TV and film favourites will be posted here on Sunday 30th March 2008.
Baby On Board - Heather Graham, Jerry O'Connell, Lara Flynn Boyle
Blue Valentine - Michelle Williams, Ryan Gosling
The Tender Hook - Rose Byrne, Tyler Coppin, Hugo Weaving
Toy Story 3 - Tom Hanks, Tim Allen
Personal Effects - Ashton Kutcher, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathy Bates
Morgan's Summit - Bruce Willis, Julianne Moore
Brothers - Natalie Portman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Carey Mullligan
The Post Grad Survival Guide - Alexis Bledel, Michael Keaton, Kirk Fox
No drama or comedy production listings this week
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Monday, 17 March 2008
Sunday, 9 March 2008
The Vintner's Luck - Vera Farmiga, Keisha Castle-Hughes
Me And Orson Welles - Claire Danes, Ben Chaplin, Imogen Poots
Need - Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts
The Secret Of Moonacre - Ioan Gruffudd, Dakota Blue Richards
Franklyn - Ryan Phillippe, Sam Riley, Bernard Hill
P.A's - no cast details as yet.
May Contain Nuts - Shirley Henderson, Sophie Thompson, Darren Boyd
Poppy Shakespeare - Anna Maxwell Martin, Naomie Harris
Bone Kickers - Julie Grahame, Tamzin Merchant, Hugh Bonneville
Apparitions - Martin Shaw, Mia Fernandez
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Sunday, 2 March 2008
MORE NEXT WEEK
Apologies for the order of the first weekly blog, I'll have it rectified come the 9th of March.